While I was in primary school, I read about the invention of the telephone, which was made by Alexander Graham Bell. But even after making the incredible invention of the human race, he wondered about the exact word to be used to start the conversation. There have been several experimental words for this purpose, and one such word was ahoy hoy. So let us find out the ahoy hoy meaning and the new version of it viz ahoy hoy GIF.
1. Origin of the Term
Ahoy, the term was generated in sea voyages and journeys when navigation became popular. The captain called out loudly the word ahoy to attract the attention of crew members towards something or to call them for a meeting. This word became associated with pirates. The term hoy was basically Hoi in the Dutch language, which was derived from the name of their sailor boat. Their sailor boat’s name was Hoie or Heude. In one of the letters sent through this ship to King Henry VII of England, this word was mentioned as the Hoye of Andwarpe. (Also read Kudos Origin and Meaning)
2. Theories behind the Term
There have been several theories to prove the origin of this term from various languages and countries.
- The earliest recorded word that was somewhat similar to ahoy was Ahiu. Heinrich von Freiberg recorded this word in his work Tristan in 1290.
- Between 1331 and 1341, Nikolaus von Jeroschin mentioned this term in his work with Kronike von Pruzinlan. The sentence says it is a hui! So wer ich hochgemut/so ich ir stirne sehe bloz. So the word was discovered there with some common words which mean happiness, joy, etc.
- A story related to this term was about a preacher who built a Church for sailors. In 1819, the preacher traveled through the sea from Philadelphia to Jerusalem. He mentioned in his memoirs that the sailors of the ships used to welcome and greet him with Ship Ahoi.
- There were some recorded written pieces of evidence provided from The Sketches and Eccentricities of Col. Davey Crockett. It was clear that Thomas Alva Edison used the word Hello as a form of greeting which is synonymous with ahoy hoy. The sentence from the text said, Hello stranger.
- This documented evidence was published 14 years before the birth of Alexander Graham Bell and his invention. (Also read 4 Most Important Inventions of the Industrial Revolution) But they both preferred the word, much more, to use it as a greeting after answering the phone. The word was different from usual words, had a different pronunciation, and instantly attract people.
Gradually, the word started spreading across different nearby countries and then to their neighboring countries and languages. The word got associated with carnivals, military greetings, and in some regions, it was used to call out to cattle to slow down. (See Gesundheit Origin Story)
3. Ahoy Hoy Meaning
This term roughly means Hello or a short greeting for someone before starting a conversation. They are actually two words ahoy and hoy. Ahoy is a combination word made from adding the letter A to hoy. Both these terms are generated from the middle English cry for calling someone.
- Reaching back into the history of words, we found that the word ahoi (Ahoy) was used in the Czech and Slovak regions for greeting each other.
- And hoi (hoy) in swiss german and modern dutch cultures is synonymous with Hi in English.
- In modern English, ahoy hoy means Hail or Hello. (Also read What’s the meaning of Friyay?)
4. Usage in Literature and Dictionary
- The oldest record of this term being used in the English Language was in The Adventures of Peregrine Prickle in 1751. It was written by a Scottish poet and author, Tobias Smollett.
- In the year 1769, it is used in its old form hoay, and the other is from 1780, in the form Hoa. Both the words have been mentioned in two editions of the Dictionary of the Marine by William Falconer.
- Thomas Campbell was a Scottish poet who published one of his satirical poems in 1821. One line of his poem says, Murderer, stop, ohoy, oh.
- One more Scottish novelist named Allan Cunningham mentioned a different variant of the word Ohoy in 1836. The new word for Ohoy was derived from some nordic languages.
Samuel Johnson, an English writer, mentioned ahoy in his dictionary as ehoi, but the meaning of this term was missing from it. The word’s meaning was mentioned in the next edition of this dictionary released in 1824. It says to be almost as essential as holla. (Also read Who Invented The English Alphabet?)
5. Usage in Theatre Plays
It was the time of vaudeville and other stage plays in different parts of the world. To show the scene or create the atmosphere of the sea on stage, the actors used the term ahoy hoy, and it attracted the majority of the audience. Similarly, in 1782, this word was used for the same purpose by Richard Cumberland in the comedy, The Walloons. The word becoming the attention catcher was also in the written records during 1789.
It even got into the lyrics of a Sea Shanty (a folklore song by Seamen) during the stage play of The Oddities, a musical by Charles Dibdin in London. The lyrics for this song were officially published in 1826. (See What is Kazoo?)
6. Ahoy Hoy GIF
The world-famous cartoon The Simpsons is accredited for mentioning this age-old term. In one of the episodes, a character named Mr. Burns picked up the receiver and said ahoy hoy as a greeting. Ever since then, people have been searching for meaning. After that, it has become a popular GIF in the internet world, known as ahoy hoy GIF. People have started using this term once again for greeting each other over the phone and in person. Though people use the word in a comic sense or just for fun, the term got its identity back because of The Simpsons. (Also read Mc Vs. Mac Debate)
So, today you learned about the meaning, origin, and historical traces of the term ahoy hoy. Call your friend and say ahoy hoy instead!